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Labs Adapt to Meet Increased COVID-19 Testing Needs in Norway

Key information for containing the spread lies in patient samples, and ramped-up testing with Epic can uncover it sooner

Widespread testing is critical to fighting the coronavirus outbreak. It both confirms infection in patients showing symptoms and identifies people without symptoms who might be unknowingly spreading the virus. Just one week after going live with Epic’s lab software, Helse Midt-Norge in Norway started around-the-clock COVID-19 testing to keep up with the influx in patient samples coming to the lab.

“We were lucky to go live before coronavirus,” said Dr. Hans-Johnny Schjelderup Nilsen, a senior physician at Helse Midt-Norge’s St. Olav’s Hospital. “Having the software helps us handle a large volume of tests.”

To improve the workflow, Helse Midt-Norge, St.Olavs hospital connected their Epic system to Norway’s national infection control agency so they can share results, which saved the laboratory a lot of work. Lab users can track every specimen, and benefit from faster turnaround times. They also use a pooled sample testing method that lets them efficiently test many specimens at once while minimizing the resources required.

Epic community members can learn more about recommended lab build and workflows in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic white paper, which is being updated regularly with new guidance related to COVID-19. For more information on pooled sample testing, refer to the UserWeb.